Heritage, Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 1988 Page: 22
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Hank the Cowdog and
Every Dog Has His Day
Hank the Cowdog and Every Dog Has His
Day. The Tenth Exciting Adventure in
the Hank the Cowdog Series by John R.
Erickson, illustrated by Gerald L. Holmes.
Maverick Books, Inc. Distributed by Texas
Monthly Press, Inc. $6.95 paperback.
These stories are sexist, racist, cornpone,
and thoroughly enjoyable reading.
As the subtitle indicates, Erickson's dog
tales have been in the works for a few years
now, though he couldn't find a publisher
early on and had to put them out himself.
Now they are a cult phenomenon. I first
read them last summer while working in
the Panhandle. I didn't know it at the time,
but I had been working with a cowboy who
was the model for the character of Loper.
I'd like to say that Loper is Hank the
Cowdog's master, but Hank wouldn't see it
that way. Hank is an independent critter,
and wouldn't allow for such a demeaning
relationship. At least not until dinnertime.
The Hank the Cowdog Series captures the
essence of Panhandle ranch life from a
dog's point of view, and this volume is as
good as all the rest.
Nana's Raid: Apache Warfare in
Southern New Mexico
Lipan Apaches in Texas
Nana's Raid: Apache Warfare in Southern
New Mexico. 1881, Stephen H. Lekson.
Lipan Apaches in Texas, Thomas E. Schilz.
Southwestern Studies Series, Nos. 81 and
83, Texas Western Press, The University of
Texas at El Paso, each $5.00 paperback.
Lekson and Schilz have produced readable
monographs on these vignettes from
the Indian history of the West. Nana's Raid
chronicles the last desperate sprint
through the Southwest by a band of Chiricahua
Apache, and The Lipan Apaches in
Texas recounts the demise of that branch
of eastern Apaches. These are eloquent
documents of a shameful period in the
American West, when native Indians were
lied to, stolen from, massacred, and herded
into concentration camps. As Lekson concludes
his account of Nana's "rehabilitation"
after his capture by bluecoats, "Only
old Nana refused to be reconstructed,"
wrote the disappointed representatives of a
New England philanthropic society. Nana
might not submit to officers' orders or heed
missionaries' lectures, but the long captivity
wore him down. They handed Nana a
globe and explained that the world was so
full of people the Apaches could no longer
roam freely as they once had. "The old
chief sat with his head buried in his hands
and said with a heavy sigh...'I'm too old to
learn that.' Kaytennae quietly took the
Prairie: Images of Ground and Sky
The Pioneer Spirit: A Prairie
Prairie: Images of Ground and Sky. Terry
Evans, University Press of Kansas.
The Pioneer Spirit: A Prairie Portrait, Lyle
Alan White, Walter Publications, $29.95
As the prairie farmer tells it in Lyle
White's introduction. "It's hard, but there
ain't no life like it anywhere, mister. This is
God's country, and we look after it!" The
Great Plains of Kansas is nobody's vacation
destination, but there's depth and character
to the landscape, and people can escape
the eye of many who whiz across 1-70 on
their way to the Rockies. Both books are
documents of the eye's mind of two Kansans,
each with a different but sensitive vision.
Terry Evans' elegant color photographs
capture the play of light on the
plains, in prairie fire, at the lifting of a
storm and in the delicate symmetry of prairie
grasses and herbs. As Gregory Bateson
comments in an introduction. "The Prairie
Seen Whole", "...I regard Evan's book as a
sign of better times to come. She brings
both love and precision to her analysis."
Lyle White's vision is more like a WPA
documentary. He captures the vigour and
uniqueness of plainsfolk without the vicious,
stylish condescension of Avedon's
recent freak show. He lacks the aesthetic
eye of Evans' subtle landscapes. His own
are pedestrian and lacklustre. But his portraits
of people are sharp and empathic, and
his accompanying dialogue accents what
his photos can not.
Late Quaternary Studies on the
Southern High Plains
Lubbock Lake: Late Quaternary Studies on
the Southern High Plains. edited by Eileen
Johnson, Texas A&M University Press,
Archaeologists have been waiting for
years for this compilation of Southern
Plains prehistory to come out. Various contributors
to the book and the Lubbock Lake
project have been cranking out bits and
pieces of their work for years, but nowhere
has it been synthesized. It's really a
professional's book, but still a good place
for a beginner or an amateur prehistorian
to get a glimpse of innovative archaeological
research. It's one of the first books from
a major press on Texas archaeology that
interprets the complex intermingling of
geological, cultural, and environmental
facts in context in an archaeological site.
All the specialists will have their stones to
throw at various premises in the book, but
then "That's science!" as they say. And for
the rest of us, use the book as an introduction
for a visit to the site. It's being developed
as an interpretive park by Texas Parks
and Wildlife, and if it's anywhere as good as
the rest of their system, should be an excellent
place to learn about the last 12,000
years of Texas prehistory.
The Pawnee Indians
The Pawnee Indians, George E. Hyde,
University of Oklahoma Press, $12.95.
And while we're on a Plains kick this
issue, grab a copy of this classic ethnohistory
of the Pawnee Indians. Hyde did for
them what Bolton did for the Hasinai, their
Caddoan cousins in East Texas. But Hyde
had the advantage of interviewing the
Pawnee themselves, who related to him
their rich oral history. They were Plains
villagers who grew corn and made pottery
and in fact lived much like the Caddo to
the south. Hyde weaves their accounts
with the warp of official accounts from the
military. His book is a mother lode of
primary information, told with an eye for
detail and color.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 1988, periodical, Summer 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45434/m1/22/: accessed February 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.